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Witness Matlou is a pianist, composer, and bandleader. He has performed nationally and internationally. His music is influenced by South African traditional, folk, jazz, and classical music. He received his bachelor's degree from Berklee College of Music in performance and jazz composition with a minor in philosophy. He also received his master's degree from Berklee in contemporary performance (global jazz concentration), studying with Danilo Pérez, Terri Lyne Carrington, Joe Lovano, John Patitucci, and George Garzone.
In 2018, Matlou was awarded the Harvard South African Fellowship and accepted into the special student program at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. There, he engaged in scholarly work and research under the guidance of acclaimed linguist John Mugane, with Matlou's research focusing on the interdependence of music in retaining African languages and cultural identity.
Matlou has performed at the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the DC Jazz Festival, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, and the North Sea Jazz Festival (Rotterdam, Netherlands).
I want students to leave my lectures or private lessons feeling inspired to go and find their unique voices, and that their personal stories are a blessing that separates their creative practices from everyone else's. My job is to help students find that special voice within themselves and be equipped with valuable tools to execute their talents and inspire others.
The experiences I have working as a composer and performer give me practical skills that I can share with students, and it is important for them to be inspired by our work as teachers. They relate best to us because we spend a lot of time with them in the classrooms. So sharing with them current projects that I am working on makes them feel like what I do is something they themselves would like to do or be a part of.